Ignoring the law

I am at a loss to understand the reported comments of Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon in the Jan. 18 paper. Among other comments, Mr. Cannon stated that he will ignore any proposed gun-control measures he (Mr. Cannon) deems unconstitutional, and that he felt his role as sheriff is comparable to that of a military officer, in that he must weigh the lawfulness of orders before obeying.

These statements, and the further analyses offered by Mr. Cannon to support each, are hopelessly incorrect, misleading, and cause enough to question Mr. Cannon’s continued ability to hold the office which he now fills.

I know that Mr. Cannon is an educated man. He is a college graduate and a law school graduate, and he doubtless has had many hours of continued instruction in his chosen career.

That being said, has he forgotten his eighth grade lessons in civics? To the point, it is not his job to decide which laws are unconstitutional — that power belongs to the Supreme Court. Mr. Cannon’s place in the hierarchy is that he is employed by the citizens of the County of Charleston to enforce the laws. Nothing more, nothing less.

Mr. Cannon is not an officer in the U.S. Army or in the Marines, and his references to what an officer in those services would have to do with respect to the lawfulness of his orders are completely out of place in this entire story line.

Is he politicking, blowing off steam, or just so past his prime that he does not understand what he is saying here? Voters in Charleston County will want to know which answer is correct before there is another election for sheriff in Charleston County.

Patricia O. DeTreville

Chadwick Drive

Charleston

Good man, good job

I was highly insulted by the Jan. 18 column written by Melanie Balog.

I was born and raised in North Charleston. I have had the pleasure of knowing the entire Cannon family all of my life, which will be 55 years this year.

At the age of 17, after graduating from high school, I began employment with the S.C. Highway Department. Because this was in 1975 we didn’t have computers or copying machines. I was always sent over to the Charleston County Police Department to ask them if “they could please make a copy for us.”

At some point I met my husband who worked for the police department. So if you are wondering, no, he was not hired by Sheriff Al Cannon. When the county police department became the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office then yes, my husband was serving under the sheriff.

My husband has been shot at, stabbed, held hostage at gunpoint, saved people from a burning house, recaptured triple murderer Freddie Kornahrens, and received numerous awards. He has a folder of letters from citizens of Charleston and beyond thanking him for his service, which he proudly performed under Sheriff Cannon. I can tell you without a doubt that my husband and Sheriff Cannon would stand between you and a bullet to save your life.

I still see the sheriff occasionally when I am in the North Area and I always tell him how proud I am of him, respect him and thank him for his dedicated service to the citizens of Charleston County.

There is no finer sheriff or person than Al Cannon.

Mary W. Gianatos

Chickasaw Drive

Charleston

Another scary chase

Here we go again. Al Cannon, our sheriff — the chaser, the enforcer, the physical assaulter of a citizen under arrest, is at it again. He is now the arbiter of what federal laws are constitutional and only those that he determines to be “lawful” will be enforced. He has stated his intent to supersede the powers and duties of our judiciary.

He scares the daylights out of me.

He may be the epitome of a Southern sheriff. He may be a true “Southern gentleman.”

I really don’t know who he is — but this I do know — as a black man in South Carolina in 2013 I fear him.

Luther W. Seabrook

Kendall Drive

Charleston

The voters know better

Melanie Balog’s Jan. 18 column concerning Sheriff Al Cannon is way out of line. If Sheriff Cannon wasn’t doing a great job, why has no one recently run against him? I wish we had more like him. He has demonstrated integrity and compassion for the public.

For the columnist to write that “he wants to protect the gun-owning public” is simply ludicrous.

David C. Bowers

S. Constellation Drive

North Charleston

Within his authority

Melanie Balog, in her Jan. 18 column, excoriates Sheriff Al Cannon, calling him a “loose Cannon” as a witty (?) way of condemning his announcement that he would “refuse to enforce any law coming out of the White House that he finds unconstitutional.”

The president has not seen fit to enforce laws with which he does not agree, such as immigration laws, the Defense of Marriage Act and illegal trafficking in arms (“Fast and Furious”). Where is Ms. Balog’s indignation about this malfeasance and gross dereliction of duty on the part of our chief executive?

The executive orders issued by President Obama, while having the force of law, have not and probably will not pass the “sniff test” as to their constitutionality. A serving military officer has the duty to disobey an unlawful order if issued.

Of course, he must be prepared to face the music if that order is deemed lawful later during an investigation into his/her disobedience. In my opinion, Sheriff Cannon is fully within the scope of his office in making such a determination.

Julian H. Carnes, Jr.

Lt. Col., U.S. Army (Retired)

Oakhurst Drive

Mount Pleasant

A matter of duty

For someone who has problems following and enforcing existing laws, I suppose it makes some kind of sense that Sheriff Al Cannon has vowed to refuse to enforce possible future laws, too.

It’s offensive that Cannon, who was arrested and charged with third-degree assault and battery last August after slapping a handcuffed suspect early last year, has vowed not to enforce any new gun legislation that he personally deems unconstitutional.

It’s fine for Cannon to disagree with proposed gun legislation in the wake of the massacre of 26 Connecticut schoolchildren and teachers, though I doubt all his deputies feel as passionately about preserving the availability of high-powered assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. It is not fine, however, for him to pick and choose what laws his office enforce.

If Cannon feels so strongly about weighing the constitutionality of our laws, he should seek to become a judge. Until then, I’d appreciate him just doing the job voters elected him to do, nothing more, nothing less.

Jason Ryan

Ashe Street

Charleston

Cannon is right

It has been some time since I have seen such a mean display of commentary about a local public official who has served our local community well for decades.

Sheriff Cannon is right to state that he would not enforce “any law coming out of the White House,” particularly if it had not previously passed both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

The current occupant of the White House was elected to the office of president of the United States of America, not king. He lacks the constitutional authority under our current representative republic form of government to issue dictatorial edicts, though he sometimes tries to do so. The president’s sworn obligation is to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” a goal that your columnist might also strive for, since she, as a journalist, enjoys the protection of its First Amendment.

Bill Spaulding

Ashborough Avenue

Summerville